Day 7 NaNoWriMo 15

Back on track!!

Today, I wrote 2028 words for a grand total of 13,024. So I am back on my pace of writing 2000+ words a day. I’m hoping that during my vacation I can pop out a couple of 5000 word days.

I guess it’s all a matter of sticktoitiveness I believe I can be that sticky 😉

Being a pantser, I’ve started with a minor character and not she has become a major ally with my protagonist. She is a captain of an airship, and as it happens, guides him on the next phase of his journey. That and she will probable make a reappearance later in the novel.

But on the other hand, when I get to the revising stage I can see that I have to add some elements. Oh well that’s life in the fast (draft) lane.

Wishing all NaNo participants an awesomely productive weekend.

Huge shout out to Aetherhouse again for her positive words and lots of support for her current novel project, “Paradisa”!

 

 

Just Don’t Fucking Say It: My Problem With “Just snap out of it.”

People who don’t suffer depression see the world through much different and much clearer lenses then those of us who do. It seems to me that these people have the idea that depressions is just feeling sad, like they do when they wake up in the morning and feel “off” or not themselves. They will start their day and by lunchtime they are being back to their normal happy selves.

Somehow many people expect that those of us with depression and just “turn off” depression.

Recently a friend asked what was up, so I explained that I had, just a short time before, been diagnosed with depression.

His response? Pretty much this: “What the hell is the big deal? Everyone that feels a little sad says they have depression.”

Although somewhat miffed, I tried to explain that depression is a lot more and much different than feeling a little blue or sad. And that in my case I often don’t feel anything at all, emotionally numb, if you will. That I have lost enjoyment in thing I used to really enjoy such as; my photography, running (although for me it’s more honestly power walking) and yes, even sex.

“It sounds more like you’re just being lazy. Just snap out of it.”

It was at this point that I really started to lose my temper and thought it was in the best interest of both of us that I leave his place.

Clinical Depression is not something a person shrugs off during the day, it’s not just feeling a little down,  for me it’s more like this:

Imagine waking up, going downstairs for your morning coffee before work, sitting down with your mug, a cat snuggles into your lap, and you watch the morning sky turn from dark to bright red. you know that this is what should be a really pleasant time but you feel: Nothing

 

Now imagine being a photographer. You’ve won a couple of small awards for photographs and you have had some of your work in exhibitions in college. You also know that even though you SHOULD be really enjoying taking photographs, your camera bag is right there and ready to go, it doesn’t hold any interest for you anymore.

That is part of what depression feels like for me. Besides the inability to sleep through a whole night many times and the feeling of general listlessness.

It feels like I have been somehow set apart from people, things and activities that I enjoyed and that enjoyment of them is at this time, out of reach.

“Just snap out of it.” Like in some way I want to feel like this or it is a simple matter of deciding to be happy.

If this sounds like I am being overly sensitive, remember that the person that said it was a guy that I had grown up with, by best friend, and for some reason thought may be supportive.

Ignorance and support, I now know, are mutually exclusive.

So please, if someone tries to explain what depression is and how they feel; don’t ever fucking say:

“Just snap out of it.”

 

Self Fulfilling…

A week ago I was diagnosed with depression. Over the weekend and into the week I felt down, sluggish, of-of-sorts and wanting to be alone.

Yesterday, I woke up before my alarm went off. As I lay in bed just thinking (and it is one of my favorite pastimes), I came upon an important insight and it is this:

Yes I have depression; yes, I will have bad days, but n the morning when I wake up, I make the decision how I approach the day. I decide that I will do my best to make it a great day, or not.

So a crappy day at work, I decide how I react. Pulled off my machine… twice, told to relieve other operators for lunch and a planning meeting for the continuous improvement team that I am on.

But wait, through this all I have a chance to be seen by the top brass in the company for efforts to improve efficiency where I work… Maybe  it’s not all that bad.

If fact, maybe it’s HOW I approach issues that arise, THROUGH the understanding of depression that I will transcend what happens.

It’s just a thought.

Peace all.

Why We Need Net Neutrality

In a Washington Post piece published just a few hours ago, I read how some members of Congress (read Republican) are arguing how a web that is regulated in ways to prevent slowing of some traffic (read free, such as YouTube and Facebook) will stifle invention and investment.

I’m raising the bullshit flag on this one. The fight comes down to what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s said his proposal

… ensures the ability of consumers to access the services they want, while not unfairly burdening broadband providers.

 

Fair enough, but…

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, blasted the draft regulations as overly “interventionist” and “a gift to trial lawyers” in a rare news conference Tuesday.

Really Mr. Pai?

The proposed regulation does nothing more than keep access to the Internet equal to all so an individual at home can access the net at the same speed and with the same bandwidth as corporations. And that’s the rub. This is an attempt to raise the possibility of corporate profit at the expense of individual free speech.

Think of it this way: The government builds public parks, much the same way the government laid the foundations for the Internet by developing ARPANET. Since public parks, in the form town squares, or commons, were the place to discuss the news and opinions of the day these were the de facto meeting places. Now suppose a company comes along and says “We’ll improve the town square. We’ll add benches and paved paths for walking and even a pretty fountain.” So they do.

A short time later they claim, “Since our company improved the square, we want to say who has access to it and for how long.” This is the point we are at with net neutrality. Internet Service Providers are wanting to claim the right to regulate who has access and at what bandwidth. The more money you can plunk down, the more bandwidth you can access.

Couple this with recent events in Ferguson MO. One of the reasons the events created such an outcry around the world was the overwhelming response to the killing of Mike Brown via social media, including live streaming of the protests. Imagine now that that free speech was squelched by a planned inaccessibility by corporations, bent on keeping the best net access to themselves.

The claim by some who have recently gained power during the last election; that deregulating the Internet would not impinge on Free Speech, are banking on you, gentle readers, not knowing the difference between being free to SAY what you want and the freedom to be HEARD.

Now is the time to be HEARD, let your Congress Members and US Senators know that the Internet is our modern town square and we demand equal and unrestricted access for all, not the wealthy few.

Writing as Social Commentary

So this post will be another stream of consciousness babble fest, but here goes:

The novel I’m working on is a story based on what I fear that I see growing in society; that is, what I am afraid is happening with what I perceive as an “everything for profit” society. That may sound a bit preachy but…

The books I find most interesting are the works of Vonnegut, Huxley, Bradbury and Orwell. (Wow, even by avid reader standards, I’m a geek.) I’m thinking that this is due to the fact that I have always been the odd-ball outsider in what is a very conservative area of my state. Blame my father. He was a hard-assed union man from the late 1940’s. He was also the one who not only encouraged me to read, but to make sure what I was reading was worthwhile.

We may have been the geekiest blue-collar ever to inhabit Earth. By the time I was in middle-school, my dad would either read a poem to me or I would read one and we would discuss it. Setting, characters, meaning, he and I would discuss it all. Everyone from Noyes to Tennyson to Dickinson to Sandburg was fair game.

It was during that time that Pops introduced me to Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five“. I was sold. He and I talked about what the book meant, and what it meant to me. Why was the book written in the first place? Did Billy Pilgrim lose his mind? What was the purpose of the science fiction theme? From that time on, I felt Kurt Vonnegut was one of the greats.

Hey, not bad for a twelve or thirteen year old.

But literature wasn’t all of it. Dad loved reading the Chicago Tribune. And chief among the reasons for this was Mike Royko. He would have me read Royko’s columns to engage me in news papers and to instill in me the idea that everyone has opinions but the best opinions are those that are best informed.

Incidentally, when I took my Op-Ed class, Mike Royko was held up as the gold standard of opinion writing. Damn, my old man knew what he was talking about.

So this brings me to my writing. I hope it doesn’t sound presumptuous, but I try to write what is important to me.

The novel I am writing tries to tackle both socio-economic inequality and women’s issues. Both of these I have strong, progressive stances on. I am trying my best to write a novel that is worth reading, but it might be slower going than I had first hoped.

Wish me luck.

Some Thoughts on the Tension in America

I am white.

I am male.

There, I said it. But I won’t let these facts override one other.

I am a person.

It hurts me to write this but at this point in time I feel I need to.

I have done racist things in my life. I have locked my car doors when driving through predominately black neighborhoods in Milwaukee. I have crossed the street when I have seen a small group of black men standing on the sidewalk among others things. Why? I wasn’t under any threat. I certainly wasn’t being eyed with any suspicion. What I did do is allow myself to perform these baseless actions which were taught to me by a society that is…

…predominately white; predominately male.

What I did, I did out of ignorance and thoughtlessness.

I apologize.

But these are not irredeemable. I can be taught out of my ignorance. I can come to the realization that there is white male privilege, as a first step. I can learn that while my privilege exists I can see it for what it is. A corruption in our socio-economic, justice and political systems that are truly not equally accessible by all people in America. I can work to change these from within, as far as I can with the abilities I have.

I can have no idea what is like to be a black man in America. That would be arrogance of the highest degree and I won’t be a part of that. But I choose to see that inequality and injustice exist. I choose to work against it. But one inescapable fact remains.

American lives are being lost and being treated of less than value of others; fewer opportunities given. Is this a means of control? I’m not in a place where I can make that call.

Michael Brown is a symbol for our country, so is Darren Wilson but more so the events that occurred between the two. That is the symbol of where we are as a society.

President Obama, Eric Holder and others in positions of power can at best guide the country. But change, real change, for the county can only come from individuals.

I choose to change.

TR

A Promise Kept for Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian

I asked the question on September 4, “Am I part of the problem of violence against women?” I then made a promise to myself and to women that I would no longer be silent. After, I started following some Twitter accounts, blogs and other social media accounts to keep myself informed and I came across #GamerGate.

This is one of the few times I was truly disturbed at what I read.

Women in the video gaming industry are being targeted for violence in an entertainment industry for speaking out for women’s role in tech and the perception on women in some but not all video games. Violence that includes having personal information such as bank accounts, personal phone numbers, addresses and the like hacked and posted online; threats of physical harm including rape, bombing of events at which they are appearing, and death threats.

But why?

To silence an opposing view. Nothing more.

The latest victim, Brianna Wu and her husband were driven from their home by death threats. let me repeat that. WERE DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOME!

Brianna Wu threat

Brianna Wu Threat

This because she audacity to speak out for the experience of women in the tech work force. She relates her personal experience and why and how it stems from sexism. She eloquently and energetically calls for diversity in the tech world after seeing first hand how toxic of an environment it can be. I can’t blame her if her words seem to be tinged with anger.

As Brianna Wu stated in her speech at AltConf “The absence of privilege is not oppression.” But why will these people, presumably men, go as far as criminal acts of violence to keep it? What have we come to when someone who wants to do no more than to provide quality entertainment has to live her life with threats of rape and death?

Anita Sarkeesian has also been made a target of violent threats for her video series “Feminist Frequency” that comments on the use, misuse and perception of women in video games, often as nothing more than objects.

 

Here is one of the facts I find stunning in cases like Brianna’s and Anita’s: All of the threats that I have seen, and I have been watching for them now, are anonymous. That’s right, dear readers, these people are cowards that while making threats of horrible violence do not have the courage of their convictions and post who they are.

Why? Simple.

They know they are breaking the law. Period. They know that making threats to one’s safety and life are felonies. They believe that anonymity will shield them from prosecution. But I have to wonder: If there is conspiracy among those making these threats does it cross the threshold of being investigated and tried under the RICO laws?

But here and now I publicly voice my support for and to Brianna and Anita and the other women who work in and report on the technology field that are having their lives thrown into chaos by fearful men who believe that male privilege shall never be challenged.

 

 We will not walk in fear, one of another; we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend the causes that, at the moment, were unpopular.

-Edward R. Murrow